Three reasons why Dan Hurley would be right hire for Lakers

    The Los Angeles Lakers’ head-coaching search took a surprising turn Thursday when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the team is targeting Connecticut’s Dan Hurley for the role.

    According to Wojnarowski, Los Angeles is expected to offer Hurley a massive, long-term contract.

    Hurley has experienced a meteoric rise over the past two seasons, during which he led the Huskies to back-to-back national championships and became college basketball’s top coach. Even though he has never coached in the pros, Hurley would be the best hire the Lakers could make.

    With that in mind, here are three reasons why Hurley would be a worthwhile pick for the Lakers.

    1. He’s not JJ Redick

    Hurley doesn’t have NBA coaching experience like James Borrego, another finalist for the Lakers’ head-coaching job. Still, he at least has coaching experience and a proven track record of success, unlike Redick, who was previously seen as the front-runner for the gig.

    However, Hurley’s experience and Redick’s lack thereof aren’t the main reasons why Los Angeles should pass on the 15-year NBA veteran.

    During a recent appearance on “NBA Today,” former Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem brought up a fantastic argument as to why a Redick-Lakers marriage would flop. Haslem believes that “Mind the Game,” the podcast Redick and Lakers star LeBron James co-host, could create problems in Los Angeles.

    “You’re gonna have a cynical locker room of guys that are gonna side-eye everything JJ says because they’re gonna wonder, ‘Is it JJ’s message or Lebron’s message?'” Haslem said.

    Even if Redick were hired and didn’t serve as a mouthpiece for James, who is often jokingly referred to as a player/GM, there’s no question their podcast could create a rift among other Lakers players.  

    2. He can create a stable foundation

    One could argue the Lakers’ head-coaching job is one of the worst jobs in sports. Aside from the unrealistic expectations that would come with coaching a James/Anthony Davis-led team, the roster is devoid of exciting young talent. 

    And with Los Angeles’ championship window essentially shut for the time being, hiring Redick would set him up to fail as former Lakers coach Darvin Ham did.

    However, if Lakers brass is more realistic about the current state of the franchise, which may be the case, Hurley is the candidate they need. 

    Shortly after his bombshell report broke, Wojnarowski wrote on X that one of the key factors in a potential Hurley hire is his elite ability to develop players. In all likelihood, James will play two more seasons if he stays in Los Angeles, so it would be best to start prepping for the future and maximize the potential of the team’s young core.

    Even though Los Angeles’ roster boasts underwhelming youngsters, if the team gives Hurley enough leeway to struggle for a few seasons, it won’t be long until he wins. 

    After all, Hurley led Rhode Island to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and UConn to a national championship in his fifth season at each school. Both programs were in rough shape before his arrival. 

    3. UConn’s offense can translate to the NBA

    Historically, top college coaches haven’t been able to cut it in the NBA. St. John’s Rick Pitino and Arkansas’ John Calipari flopped during their NBA head-coaching stints, but Hurley has the potential to be Los Angeles’ version of Brad Stevens, who went 350-281 as Boston’s coach. 

    Hurley’s two national championship-winning teams featured the most talented rosters in college basketball, but UConn’s success was largely built on the 51-year-old’s NBA-style offense

    The Huskies frequently leaned on complex off-ball movement to create open looks, which should seamlessly translate to the Association, where teams primarily play man-to-man defense.

    If there’s any doubt the Huskies offense will translate from the college game to the NBA, keep in mind that UConn has won a record 12 NCAA Tournament games by double digits over the past two seasons. And that’s after losing five of its eight leading scorers and three starters from the 2023 title-winning team.

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